The 2022 NFL season is fast approaching and that means draft season for fantasy football has arrived. Everyone will seek out hidden gems in their respective drafts, that sleeper that will greatly outplay their ADP. While we can’t predict the future, we can look at a player’s average draft position (ADP) and see who has the best chance to be a value where they are being selected.
Mining for running back depth in your drafts is a proposition that can potentially make or break your season right out the gate. Hitting on a sleeper is great, but nailing a deep sleeper like Elijah Mitchell last season could set you up nicely. Here are our deep sleeper running back picks that can bring value to your fantasy football lineups this season.
Note: I am using half-PPR scoring formats and 12-team leagues for this article.
Cordarrelle Patterson, Atlanta Falcons
It’s kind of surprising to see Cordarrelle Patterson as the 43rd ranked running back in terms of ADP considering how effective of a weapon he was with the Falcons last season. The veteran had 153 carries for 618 yards and six rushing touchdowns and coupled that with 52 receptions for 548 yards and five receiving touchdowns.
Things will be bleak for the Falcons as far as skill position depth is concerned and they may need to lean heavily on their jack-of-all-trades tailback once again. He was a top 10 running back in fantasy running back with 13 fantasy points per game last season and could probably match those numbers again this season.
James Cook, Buffalo Bills
One of the glaring inconsistencies for the Bills last season was their running game. Devin Singletary didn’t catch fire until late in the season while Zack Moss ended up with less carries than Josh Allen. There’s room for someone to take the RB1 mantle and that someone could be rookie James Cook.
The Georgia product and younger brother of Dalvin Cook has impressed his coaches so far in training camp and has received a bulk of first-team snaps. Considering that he was part of a running back committee on UGA’s national championship team last season, he’s coming into the league with less mileage than even some of his rookie contemporaries. Cook is being drafted as RB41 according to ADP numbers and has the opportunity to blow right past that if given the chance.
Darrell Henderson Jr., Los Angeles Rams
Henderson will once again share a backfield with Cam Akers, but could re-establish himself as a fantasy threat during his contract season.
Missing a handful of games due to injury, Henderson still put up 688 yards and five touchdowns through 10 games played and he netted fantasy managers 12.4 fantasy points per game. He’s RB42 in ADP at the moment but could potentially be a top 20 back if he stays healthy.
Dameon Pierce, Houston Texans
The hype surrounding Dameon Pierce continues to grow in Texans training camp by the day. Head coach Lovie Smith has continually praised him for his toughness while local media observers have already declared him the RB1 in Houston by a wide margin.
This doesn’t come as a surprise as the Texans are still in the midst of a large rebuild and the fourth-round pick out of Florida only has Marlon Mack and Rex Burkhead to compete with for the starting job. Pierce is currently RB49 in ADP and stands to easily outperform that ranking with the number of touches he’ll get right out of the gate.
Rachaad White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers brought back Leonard Fournette as their starting running back this offseason and drafted Rachaad White to be his backup. The Arizona State product has been praised by the Bucs’ coaching staff during training camp so far and his versatility has turned some heads. He ran for exactly 1,000 yards for the Sun Devils last fall and also caught 43 receptions for 456 yards.
He’s RB50 in ADP at the moment and has the chance to rise up the boards as a rookie should Tom Brady and company gain more trust in him to make plays. White would be a worthy investment fro fantasy managers.